I must be getting old. Or premenstrual. Or peri-menopausal or just sentimental. Because when the girls roll across the finish line and they’ve done something they didn’t quite think they could do or didn’t feel like doing (because it was 45 degrees), well it’s akin to watching a magic show. I don’t quite know how or what happened out on the course all I know is that they finished and that’s enough for me. And I just about tear up every time. That’s why I really wear sunglasses. Wink wink.
I get such a kick out of watching the first timers. One of the Boulder High girls raced for her first time and she said, “That was amazing! It was so much fun! I think I hurt my knee.” Or something close to that. I didn’t have my Lois Lane reporter notebook with me. The point is that she had a great time and she had a great time doing something that was not easy. I’m not sure any of the kids who line up to race at the Colorado high school mountain bike races would say, “That was easy.” Racing is hard. Racing is challenging and racing can be a grind and it can be amazing and it can be a bit demoralizing. It can be all of those things. That’s why it’s so fun to be at the finish line. Because I know all that and so I know right off the bat how cool these kids are. I’ve said it before but they could stay in bed. For the most part, races are far from home. So add the drive, the cyclocross race the day before, the camping or the hotel room plus the missed or compromised time for homework and you’ve got yourself a pretty big commitment (thanks mom and dad).
I’m not kidding. You might think I’m just saying this because I ride with the kids. Not so. I am deeply impressed every time I ride with the team. Girls and boys. Slow or fast. One of the kids could never come to practice (because they would probably still podium) and yet they do. Some of these kids are so new to mountain biking that they don’t know how to shift gears and yet they come out and ride. And some of them have to borrow the team bikes because they don’t have one. And a few of them work all summer to earn the money to buy a bike. I mean, it doesn’t get much better than this. It all adds up to pure awesomeness. And it’s not just Boulder high’s team, it’s all of the teams. Some big and some super small. They all come out and leave everything they’ve got out on the course.
Yep, for three races now, the kids have rolled into a small town or to a small ranch and given it their all. Fruita is up next for the state championships on Sunday, October 21. As we start to wind down, we leave the kids with a few thoughts about the race and about practice. We tell them to finish it. Just finish it.